Friday, March 1, 2013

NJ's Latest Accomplishment; We Really Know How To Close Charter Schools!

New Jersey's education system has a lot to brag about.  Please check out the link to a New Jersey School Board Association overview of the many reasons we should be proud of our schools and our students.  Here are some highlights:
  • Among the nation's best reading scores: New Jersey ranks among the best in the nation—tied for second—in the fourth-grade reading scores of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the "Nation's report card." In eighth-grade reading, New Jersey tied for fourth best in the nation. (Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress) 
  • Leading the nation in graduation rates: A national report from Education Week magazine, Diplomas Count 2011, found New Jersey’s graduation rate of nearly 87% led the nation, and exceeded the national graduation rate of 71.7%. (Source: Education Week). 
  • Among the nation's best math scores: The National Assessment of Educational Progress, which compares test results among states, ranked New Jersey among the top five states in both fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores. (Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress)
  • Highest rated: An annual publication ranks New Jersey schools first in the nation on 19 factors that measure quality of public education (Source: "Education State Rankings 2010-2011," CQ Press, a division of Congressional Quarterly) 
  • Quality Education: Nearly nine out of 10 parents say they are satisfied with their local public schools and more than half said they were "very satisfied," according to a Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll, "Public Education in New Jersey: Good and Getting Better." (Source: Eagleton Institute of Politics)
But what does Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and Commissioner Cerf's new BFF want people to see when they look to New Jersey?

What a great job we do closing charter schools.

What do you think NJ?  Do you want our state's bragging rights to be we REALLY know how to shut a kid's school down and shut it down good?  I felt like I had been punched in the gut when I read this reprehensible tweet. The news that these charters will close must have been devastating for the parents and students that attend them. But suck it up kids, because Greg Richmond and Chris Cerf know what's best for you!!

Did you notice the #1millionlives hashtag on Richmond's tweet?  I first wrote about this diabolical campaign back in December when it was unveiled with great fanfare. Greg Richmond and Chris Cerf are leading the charge to shut down failing charters, and replace them with shiny new ones, with the end goal the creation of one million new charter seats nationwide.

Then Macke Raymond tied their campaign up with a nice little bow with a CREDO report that said, no need to wait, if a charter starts off bad, it's gonna stay bad, so you might as well shut 'er down NOW!

These people have colluded to manipulate the national dialogue to the point where closing a kid's school is a GOOD thing that we, as a state, should be proud of.  How twisted is that?

I feel I would be remiss to not point out that they don't seem to hold themselves to the same standard.  By all measures the NJDOE has been a horrible authorizer.  In May of 2012 the Office of Legislative Services skewered the Office of Charter schools.
We also determined that the process utilized by the department to review and approve initial applications and grant charter renewals was inadequate. In addition, we found that mandated monitoring procedures, which include annual assessments of charter school performance and enrollments, are not being completed.  
And one of the NJDOE's "important partners," the Center for Education Reform, was not much kinder when they reviewed the Office of Charter Schools in December of 2011. 
CER acquired and analyzed hundreds of pages of rejected applications, the corresponding denial letters and reviewer comments. The report details the lack of transparency in the application review process while uncovering severe bias and subjectivity applied by external reviewers and the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Charter Schools.
The latest NJDOE press release about the approval of two charters in Paterson would have us believe that the department has cleaned up it's act.  Of course the only evidence of their supposed turnaround is that they are now following NACSA's "best practices."  

I can't help but wonder...  why is a "failing" charter school authorizer salvageable but a "failing" charter school isn't? After all, isn't the reform movement supposedly about being accountable to students, not adults? 

Just another one of their One Million Lies...
Putting the interests of money above children...

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